Toyota Kata Workshop

May 14 - May 15, 2019
8:00AM - 5:00PM
Rutland Regional Planning Commission, Rutland, VT
67 Merchants Row, Rutland, VT (3rd floor meeting room) (map)

$895 per person

Register Here

Note: This same training is being offered May 7 and 8 at Liquid Measurement Systems in Georgia, VT; visit this link to register for that session.

Change arrives fast these days. Competitors emerge overnight, new technologies alter the business, and labor market conditions are uncertain.  How do you ensure continued success in such complex, dynamic, and unpredictable conditions?

The default way people think about problems often involves jumping to conclusions and immediately seeking to solve problems, because the brain does not like uncertainty. The unconscious part of our brain takes bits of surface information, quickly extrapolates to fill in blanks, and gives us a false sense of confidence in our conclusion. And then we start making costly mistakes.

Toyota Kata is about:

  • Developing new habits and allowing people to think differently about problems and goals
  • A way of working, and of working together
  • Using scientific thinking as an ingredient to make teams and organizations more effective and successful
  • Developing a culture of continuous learning and improvement at all levels through deliberate practice

Toyota Kata does not teach problem solving, but rather develops a mindset that can make people more effective at problem solving and coaching problem solving – through practicing “Starter Kata.” Starter Kata are small routines or protocols that get practiced deliberately, especially at the beginning, to help people acquire a new skill. Starter Kata increase the speed of learning and are especially helpful when companies want to develop a shared way of thinking and working in a group of people, because everyone starts with practicing the same basics.

There are two main elements within Toyota Kata and each has its own set of Starter Kata – Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata.

The Improvement Kata helps develop fundamental skills of working like a scientist. The learner iterates or experiments his or her way toward a desired goal instead of deciding the way forward. This way of thinking and working helps people successfully deal with uncertainty and challenges.

The Coaching Kata is a repeating routine by which managers teach Improvement Kata to everyone in the company. The teacher or coach gives the learner procedural guidance, not solutions, helping the learner successfully overcome obstacles and develop confidence. Since many managers do not have experience in coaching others to think this way, the Coaching Kata helps managers develop these skills. With Toyota Kata, managers can develop their own coaching skills and their team members’ problem-solving skills simultaneously.

VMEC utilizes the TWI Institute’s Toyota Kata program curriculum following the proven format of the traditional TWI programs (Job Instruction, Job Relations and Job Methods).. The training program clearly demonstrates essential Toyota Kata concepts, scientific thinking, and the behavioral principles upon which it is built. The program provides expert guidance in establishing current and target conditions, identifying obstacles and PDCA based experimentation. Much of the time this learn-by-doing program is spent practicing the Coaching Kata while mentored by TWI Institute Certified Trainers. Upon completion, participants are ready to start using Toyota Kata.

This proven training methodology includes:

  • Sixteen (16) hours of classroom training that is divided into five modules
  • Modules which have a lecture, case study, and coached practice components
  • Learner knowledge and practice in manageable segments
  • Accelerated learning and proficiency

Learn-by-doing approach:

  • A more effective teaching approach. Hearing and/or seeing is not enough.
  • Practice and mentoring uses real problems.
  • Consistently delivered, tightly defined program
  • All participants receive the exact same training delivered by Certified Trainers.
  • The practice of Toyota Kata will be standardized. It will look and feel the same throughout the organization. This is essential for long term sustainability.

For further information on Kata, refer to this VMEC blog post, The Benefits of Improvement and Coaching Kata for Business.

VMEC has secured a Vermont Training Program grant to reduce the cost for eligible company participants by 50% off the $895 per person fee.  Contact Patricia Giavara, VMEC Assistant Director, ( / (802) 279-6103) for further details on the grant.  

Who Should Attend  VMEC recommends that a company begin by training its leaders, supervisors, team leaders, Continuous Improvement leaders, trainers and anyone who is responsible for developing people.   We encourage companies to send two people to the workshop so that they can coach each other following the training.  Participants will receive a certificate of completion from the TWI Institute following this 2-day training.  Both days of the training must be attended. 

Following the 2-day Toyota Kata workshop, there is an option for Toyota Kata Application training.   This is company-specific training on the practical application of the Improvement and Coaching kata.  Please see the content at the bottom of this page for the opportunity.

For further information on Toyota Kata, this training or the Application training, contact Karl Swanke, VMEC Professional Manufacturing and Business Growth Advisor at (802) 363-3982.

Read here what one VMEC client company representative states about his experience with the Kata system – “Kalow believes in the value of training and continuous improvement in order to ensure customer satisfaction. Kata is such a good approach because it is scientific and concrete. It removes the ‘my opinion vs. your opinion’ conversations and gets everyone on the same page.”  – Eric Lapp, Compliance Manager, Kalow Technologies

Payment: Please make check payable to “VMEC” and mail to PO Box 12, Randolph Center, VT 05061-0012. To pay by credit card (VISA, MC, AMEX), click here.

Toyota Kata Application Training

Following the 2-day Toyota Kata workshop, there is an option for company-specific training on the practical application of the improvement and coaching kata.  Workshop participants receive group and individual training as they practice the new Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata skills in their daily work.  The application training includes a leadership orientation meeting.   The purpose of this meeting is to discuss with company leaders their role in developing and sustaining the improvement culture.  The application training for up to 4 employees who attended the Toyota Kata workshop includes six (6) training and coaching sessions over six weeks (some on site and some via phone or video).   Each participant would receive 12 hours of application training.

The cost for company specific training and coaching following the Kata workshop for up to 4 participants per company is $2700.   VMEC has secured Vermont Training Program grant funds to reduce this cost by 50% for up to 5 eligible companies. Contact Patricia Giavara or Karl Swanke (contact information for both above) if you are interested in the Application Training.